Why Dry Eye Occurs After LASIK Surgery

September 2, 2016 — by ksmmdeye
Tags: Dry Eye Lasik Side Effects

A woman using eye dropsAll of us at the Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey are committed to helping people see the world a little better. We are proud to help the people of West Orange see clearly using the latest technology and techniques. In many cases, custom LASIK surgery is safe and effective, allowing people to see clearly without prescription lenses.

That said, LASIK is not without side effects. With that in mind, let's take a moment to consider dry eye after LASIK and what can be done about it.

How LASIK Is Performed

During LASIK surgery, a flap is created in the topmost layer of the cornea. This portion of the cornea is known as the epithelium. The flap is pulled back so that a surgical laser can alter the overall contour of the cornea. This improves the passage of light through the eye, enhancing vision in the process. The flap is then set back down to heal.

Dry Eye After LASIK

In creating the flap in the epithelium, the nerves in the cornea are affected. This can lead to issues in tear production. In fact, dry eye is a common side effect of LASIK surgery, and patients are told about the possibility of dry eye from the initial consultation. Thankfully the dry eye is manageable, and many patients will experience just temporary issues with dry eye as part of healing, with the issues becoming less serious as recovery continues.

Keep in mind that dry eye is actually a common symptom following most eye surgeries, and that it is normal to experience irritation as your eyes heal.

How Long Will Dry Eye Last?

Dry eye will typically last for a few months after LASIK, with the most pronounced cases of dry eye occurring in those initial weeks after surgery. Over the course of a few months, the dry eye should be less frequent and less severe.

In very rare instances, patients will experience serious issues with dry eye for years, but we must stress that this only occurs in very rare instances.

Dealing with Dry Eye After LASIK Surgery

The best way to deal with dry eye after LASIK is to carry lubricating eye drops with you at all times after surgery. These eye drops will be able to alleviate serious discomfort, and they can be used as needed whenever a dry eye attack arises.

It's also a good idea to avoid situations and environments in which dry eye attacks may be more likely. This means being careful when in dry, dusty, pollen-filled, windy, or smoky places. Dry eye can occur more often in these situations, so best be ready for the issue should it arise.

Why People with Dry Eye Are Poor Candidates for LASIK

Since dry eye is a side effect of LASIK surgery, many people who have pre-existing issues with dry eye are considered poor candidates for LASIK. The LASIK procedure can exacerbate cases of dry eye syndrome, leading to greater irritation and a higher risk of long-term problems with vision and overall well-being.

For people with pre-existing dry eye syndrome, we will usually recommend glasses and special contact lenses to address refractive error. During a consultation, we can offer our insight as to your options.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

For more information about LASIK and how it can help you see clearly again, be sure to contact our advanced eye care center today. The team at Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey will work with you to enhance your vision.